Then again, his weight likely helped his Madden impression gain early acceptance, and today, strangely, it might be helping him earn the favor of TV executives who want to cater to a general audience. Caliendo says his stage act has become like "a baseball game of comedy," because so many fathers bring their sons to see him. "And everybody in Hollywood tells me that I'm a regular guy," he says. "They say I'm a real everyman type of person. I think what that really means is that I'm not skinny."

You know who is skinny? Dave Chappelle. And Caliendo acknowledges that the format and casual vibe of his TBS show derive from what Chappelle did on Comedy Central. "We wanted to call Frank TVChappelle's Show, but the network wouldn't let us do it. Yeah, Dave's back. And now he's chubby and white." Still, that leads to an idea. What about John Madden as Rick James? "That would be a funny thing to do," Caliendo says. Suddenly, almost magically, he manages to morph Chappelle's high-pitched squeal with Madden's guttural voice: "I'm John Madden …" He stops himself before finishing the catchphrase that became Chappelle's "Free Bird." Best to save that for Frank TV.



Who's Talking Now?
Is it Frank Caliendo doing an impression or the actual people and/or characters he impersonates?

A. "Only one team leaves the Super Bowl as the winner, and everybody else loses their last game. So if you win your last game every year, you're probably the Super Bowl winner." John Madden or Caliendo as Madden?

B. “There’s a lot of letters in LaDainian Tomlinson.” — John Madden or Caliendo as Madden?

C. “Why do my fingers look like little people? Who are these people?” — Jerry Seinfeld or Caliendo as Seinfeld?

D. “To me, the hardest partof being a professional football player is: On the one hand, you’re amillionaire; on the other, they blow a whistle and you have to runaround after a football.” — Jerry Seinfeld or Caliendo as Seinfeld?

E. “I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.” — Caliendo or Terry Bradshaw?

F. “Goobidee goo, we’ve got some great games for you.” — Caliendo or Terry Bradshaw?


ANSWERS: A. Caliendo, B. Madden, C. Caliendo, D. Seinfeld, E. Bradshaw, F. Caliendo